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A little-noticed section of the Wall Street reform law grants the federal government broad new powers to compel financial firms to hire more women and minorities — an effort at promoting diversity that’s drawing fire from Republicans who say it could lead to de facto hiring quotas.
Deep inside the massive overhaul bill, Congress gives the federal government authority to terminate contracts with any financial firm that fails to ensure the “fair inclusion” of women and minorities, forcing every kind of company from a Wall Street giant to a mom-and-pop law office to account for the composition of its work force.
Under a little-noticed provision of the recently passed financial-reform legislation, the Securities and Exchange Commission no longer has to comply with virtually all requests for information releases from the public, including those filed under the Freedom of Information Act.
The law exempts the SEC from disclosing records or information derived from "surveillance, risk assessments, or other regulatory and oversight activities." Given that the SEC is a regulatory body, the provision covers almost every action by the agency, lawyers say. Congress and federal agencies can request information, but the public cannot.
That argument comes despite the President saying that one of the cornerstones of the sweeping new legislation was more transparent financial markets. Indeed, in touting the new law, Obama specifically said it would "increase transparency in financial dealings."
The future of disparate impact discrimination. In Ricci v Destafano white and Hispanic firefighters from New Haven, Conn sued the City for disparate treatment discrimination. The city had administered objective tests for use in promotion of fire fighters to the ranks of Captain and Lieutenant in the department. But, the City refused to certify the tests because no African-Americans passed the test. The City claimed their action was the result of a fear of being sued for disparate impact discrimination by African-Americans. The black applicants strengthened their case by showing statistical evidence that they were underrepresented in the officer ranks of the fire department.
J Kennedy, writing for a 5-4 majority ruled against the City holding that fear of a lawsuit was not enough; they would have had to show they would have lost the suit in order to prevail.
Originally posted by LadySkadi
reply to post by mnemeth1
This concept has already been challenged in the Supreme Court, and the challenges have been affirmed. In the private sector, that is. I suspect that if anyone can prove hiring practice discrimination based on this idea, it would be solid grounds for lawsuits....